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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion

Current Postgraduate Research Students

Publication details for Professor Simon Oliver

Oliver, Simon (2010). Analytic Theology. International Journal of Systematic Theology 12(4): 464-475.

Author(s) from Durham


A Review Article on
Oliver D. Crisp and Michael C. Rea , eds. , Analytic Theology: New Essays in the Philosophy of Theology . Oxford : Oxford University Press , 2009 , 328 pp. £50.00 / $99.00

The vast majority of contemporary theologians agree that theology has always engaged in some way with the discipline of philosophy. To reject this imperative is apparently to appear fideistic and to render theology a ‘ghetto’. However, it is clear that philosophy comes in many guises. At a most general level, contemporary philosophy is typically, if controversially and unhelpfully, divided into the so‐called European continental tradition and the Anglophone analytic tradition. Ironically, while university departments of philosophy in North America and the United Kingdom follow the predominantly analytic tradition and many departments of theology employ analytic philosophers of religion, over the last twenty or so years theologians have been much more anxious to engage with continental philosophy. With the possible exception of one contribution, the purpose of Analytic Theology: New Essays in the Philosophy of Theology is not only to commend to systematic theologians a more thoroughgoing engagement with analytic philosophy, but also to suggest that some of the methods and priorities of analytic philosophy might be profitably deployed within the discipline of theology‐proper to yield an ‘analytic theology’. As well as sections defending and defining analytic theology, the volume considers historical perspectives, the ‘data’ of theology (reason, Scripture and experience, but apparently not tradition), and the possible limits of an analytic approach.